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on one in the 2008 democratic primary, then three debates against john mccain. it's a different dynamic than to be the frontrunner where four or five people are aiming at you throughout a debate. >> here we are on the eve practically of the first debate and it's supposed to be an economic, domestic policy. >> right. >> and now foreign policy has reared its head. we have first of all mitt romney and "the wall street journal" an op-ed, saying that these developments are not as president obama says, mere bumps in the road. they are major issues that put our security at risk, yet amid this upheaval our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them, not moving them in a direction that protects our people or allies. and paul ryan just now on the laura engram radio show, saying this about afghanistan. >> that echos also what john mccain said on "morning joe" today. are they trying to change the skubts to get off -- subject to get off 47% and other missteps and perceived problems in their camp or see a real vulnerability here after benghazi in the way that the white house
of the candidates have experienced. president obama's last debate was against senator john mccain in the fall of 2008. while governor romney has had nearly two dozen debates during that gop primary. the obama campaign says the president's strategy is focused on shorter, crisper answers. the romney strategy, as reported in "the new york times" has the governor memorizing a series of zingers to try to hit the president with. let's bring in our "news nation" political panel for this monday. democratic strategist chris, national radio host michael, and also an msnbc contributor, and villa skype as you can tell from our shot there, steve, conservative radio show host. you have the visual disadvantage because you're skype. i'll let you start off first here. let me play what paul ryan, completely opposite of what chris christie said this sunday. his assessment of the debates. let's play ryan, please. >> i don't think one event is going to make or break this campaign. look, president obama's a very -- he's a very gifted speaker. this is mitt's first time on this kind of a stage. >> it's no secret, st
john mccain and barack obama, which was this date four years ago, the focus was the war. in fact, both wars. >> do you, senator mccain, much has been said about the lessons of vietnam. what do you see as the lessons of iraq? >> i think the lessons of iraq are very clear that you cannot have a failed strategy. thanks to this great general david pa trm pa tray yous, they succeeding and winning in iraq. >> whether we should have gone into the war in the first place. six years ago i stood up and opposed this war. we hadn't finished the job in afghanistan. we hadn't caught bin laden. we hadn't put al qaeda to rest. and as a consequence, i thought that it was going to be a distraction. now, senator mccain and president bush had a very different judgment. >> so that was this date, 40 days out from the election in '08 and 40 days out from the election in '04. in '04 the campaign was consumed with the debate over at least one of our wars. 40 days out from the election in '08, in the midst of the financial meltdown the campaign was consumed with both of the wars. now it's 2012 and we're 40 days
and turn the majpage. congressman paul ryan and paul mccain. take a look at this approach. >> the response was slow. it was confused. it was inconsistent. they first said that it was a youtube video and a spontaneous mob. we now know that it was a planned terrorist attack. if this was one tragic incident, that would be a tragedy in and of itself. the problem is it's part of a bigger picture of the fact that the obama foreign policy is unraveling literally before our eyes on our tv screens. >> i think it interferes with the depiction that the administration is trying to convey, that al qaeda is on the wane, that everything's fine in the middle east. >> you think it's political? >> i think there are certain political overtones. how else could you trot out our u.n. ambassador to say it was spontaneous? >> maybe it was. >> five days later? that doesn't pass the smell test. it was ever ignorance or willful intelligence. >> whether you agree with him or not, senator mccain has the credibility, a war hero, with great experience in washington dealing with foreign policy, how do you think, though,
during mccain one on ones. while romney did well in this season's gop debates, had rough performances, bet you $10,000 he did. romney performances, the unspoken body language that the camera captured, they were brutal against ted kennedy. ivy league will enjoy biden versus ryan more. trust me. >>> turning back to the brand new battleground polls. there's a different pattern emerging, president obama is ahead in new hampshire, tighter in nevada and north carolina. joining me, director of the marist poll. good to see you in person. >> welcome to the home of the new york yankees. >> you're going to blow the playoff run. >> i am worried. >> we want the beltway series in washington. we have been looking at this as sort of the generic, the general all nine states. what is your take away? >> i think what you're seeing is a very big difference when obama is 45, 46 as months ago when everything was 44, now he gets to 48, 49, 50, you can say it makes a difference -- >> it does feel like 48 is a big difference -- >> seeing a change in the right direction in the approval rating. >> massive gender
blame this man, john sydney mccain iii. >> he looks happy there. >> this is the message i had. he wrote about this in the daily news today. mitt is running in the wrong year against the wrong barack obama. just imagine if he had run in 2008 and won the nomination instead of john mccain. next to the junior senator from illinois, he actually would have looked very grown up, right? he had run businesses and the olympics and been a governor back when being a governor was still a big deal for running for president. he could run on romney care instead of against it. his response to the economic meltdown, would have been i got this. i can handle it this, as opposed to mccain's which was to freak out and suspend his campaign. of course, the us versus them 99% kind of class war rhetoric of "occupy wall street" hadn't begun yet. it was still acceptable to be a rich guy and not have to wear the scarlet "a" on your chest. being an expletive we know and not adultery. it would have been the perfect time and the perfect obama for mitt romney to run against. i can't think of a worse moment for a multi-
thing about president obama and the debates with john mccain, it really wasn't so much what he said. it was the way he held himself compared with the way that senator john mccain held himself, and senator mccain looked increasingly flustered. he looked frustrated with candidate obama. i think that the great thing about president obama is that he does have the capacity to be totally in the moment and to be totally funny. he is funny on his feet. and so, you know, for him to practice what he's going to do in case of a zinger, i think he's got the blessing of being rather spontaneous and the blessing of being up against someone who is incapable of spontaneity, reveals himself into" those spontaneous moments like the 47% taped remark to be not a terribly likable person. so i think for the president to practice the way he handles zingers defeats what the president is particularly good at. >> well, actually barack means -- barack means in swahili blessed one, so you got that one right. will president obama challenge romney on the details of his vague tax plan, a tax plan almost every expe
audience of the campaign. the first 2008 presidential debate between the president and john mccain got seven times the audience of the highest rated 2012 republican primary debate. think about that. seven times. past debates show romney and obama have to worry about cut away shots that are less than flattering. in the past both candidates have come across as irritable, patronizing or disengaged. this was chris christie's advice to the candidates yesterday. >> what you do is go out and be yourself. and people either like it or don't. if they don't, they are going to vote for somebody else. not a tragedy. no one dies. >> finally speaking of debates, there was a barn burner last night in massachusetts where scott brown and democratic challenger elizabeth warren faced off in a debate. moderated by nbc's david gregory. it was tense from the outset. >> if you're going to comment on my record, i would at least have you refer to it -- excuse me. i'm not a student in your classroom. please let me respond, okay? >> that was an echo of a quip brown used in 2010 when he told martha kwaurkly i'm no
columnist meghan mccain and son of the former president reagan. meghan, politico columnist wrote a satire call piece about romney and ryan and spoke to my colleague jansing. >> paul ryan is treated like a surrogate. he doesn't get to choose his own staff. he has a staff loyal to mitt romney around him every minute. he is told what to say and told what to do. that's fine as long as romney is winning. but romney is not winning. he's losing. and that unleashes the presidential candidate to act in his or her own way to unleash sarah palin to start attacking barack obama more. >> so meghan, as we all know. your dad certainly dealt with tensions within the ticket of himself, sarah palin, for any of these candidates, though, behind the scenes there is ego, ambition, and the perception of what the voters see. do you think there is a behind the scenes strain that's going on because, as we also mentioned, the fact that congressman ryan is still running for his same seat. he has a good safety net if things don't go well as role for vice president. >> first of all that gentleman from politico wrote a
, staffer starting to give premore tems to the press, spin how it's not their fault. toward the enof the mccain campaign they were preparing internal memos of how to exonerate themselves of blame. you'll start to see that coming. when that kind of thing comes, republican money people start to smell it and look for other places to put their resources. >> melissa, is there extra credit for losing creatively? you're a teacher and educator. >> i mean there actually is extra credit for losing creatively if you are a current office holder. if you are a senator or governor and going to go back to that job then, in fact, there are ways if you lose you can lose and still retain your position, for example, as mccain does as a particular kind of voice within the context of the senate. but when you are as romney said many, many times in the primary, an unemployed guy, then what happens is you simply become sort of a speed bump in history. >> now, jeff, you followed a lot of campaigns. i'm sure you remember when people thought senator obama was losing. are people counting romney out too early and does that
why john mccain and sarah palin underperformed in a lot of those places. and also, a lot of folks out there, a lot of folks in my family included, said, you know what, with i like john mccain, but i'm just not sure about sarah palin. i just don't believe that she's qualified to be president. obviously, governor romney does not that have scenario these days, but he has to overperform in areas that mccain underperformed in. >> we love to point the finger and blame when political races are lost. if governor romney loses this thing, come wednesday morning, who do they blame? >> well, i've got to look in the mirror and blame themselves. one, the campaign was ill prepared from the beginning. believe it or not, they didn't have an answer to the tax question. they didn't have a good answer to the bain capital question. and governor romney made stumble after stumble and it pains me to say that, because when we were governors together, i liked him and he helped me form late pennsylvania's health care plan, but he's just -- his performance has been almost shock during this campaign. >> almost sh
with the president, he's been able to elevate himself in the debates with senator john mccain and appear presidential. i want to remind how he did so. moments like this. >> in a short career, he does not understand our national security challenges. we don't have time for on-the job training, my friend. >> senator mccain in the last debate and today again suggested i don't understand. it's true. there are some things i don't understand. i don't understand how we ended up invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 while osama bin laden and al qaeda are setting up base camps and safe havens to train terrorists to attack us. that was senator mccain's judgment. >> the president also has this tenacity or tendency to ramble. in one democratic debate he appeared to be sleeping. the biggest pitfalls you would recommend that the president needs to avoid? >> i think actually, the rest of us may be sleeping when we watch this debate tomorrow night. however, i think the thing obama will have to work on, in his debate preps, they've been force-feeding him that old clip of hillary, don't do anything like t
with mitt. which is it? >> that's right. you could imagine john mccain in 2008 saying, wait a second, that 47% is made up of veterans who have paid their debt to society with blood literally. it's made up of mostly working people, most of that 47% are working americans, working middle class, working poor. >> hard working who earn less than $30,000 a year. >> or even $40,000 or $50,000 and many of those -- many of that 47% is made up of seniors. you know, this network is going to have a new poll later today that's going to show the race tightening and the national numbers but not in the battleground states i think. one of the big reasons for that, one of the big underreported reasons for that is how the romney/ryan ticket has offended seniors. we've talked about how this ticket offended women, african-americans, hispanics. the big story is how they have offended seniors and how seniors have gone from the romney/ryan camp into the obama camp largely i think because of the ryan plan on medicare, and so that -- the 47% was poorly answered by ryan, but an equal weight around this campaign
had senator john mccain about what you need to present to people during debate. we know yesterday you talked about this, which mitt romney will show up tonight? ab is talking about keeping the conservative base fired up or perhaps trying to go after the other people he would need to win here. let me play what bob said on "morning joe." >> i remember in the 1990s once asking john mccain is it possible and he asked -- actually asked the question is it possible to run for president and be true to yourself? he ran for president. a lot of people would say he wasn't true to himself. i asked him a couple of months ago, what's the answer to that question? and he said, i don't know. >> what do you make of that, eugene? even senator john mccain. we saw this. the guy was supposed to be the maverick. he was consumed by the sarah palin hurricane or whatever you choose to describe that event as being what we witnessed. but he did not know or does not know. >> well, this is quite a process isn't it, tamron? >> mm-hmm. >> the environment is such that every -- every step you take, every move you make,
debate, fair or not. in 2008 john mccain betrayed his frustration when he referred to barack obama as "that one." let's listen. >> your bill on the floor of the senate, loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies and it was sponsored by busch and cheney. you know who voted for it? might never know. that one. you know who voted against it? me. >> where did you come up with that phrase, that one? what will be the clues tonight to tell us in real time who's winning. ste steve kornacki, co-host of "the cycle." you start with your biggest clue. you've said already, i've seen on my screen, who's winning the definition, meaning who's defining the debate in their terms. how does that go? explain. >> romney has always wanted this race to be a referendum. he's made a mistake because people have of telegraphing their big question, do you want another four years like the last four years? if the president wants a strong comeback, he can pull the debate into what he's done the last few months, the ground of choice. who stands up for the middle class, who favors the few, build prospe
and john mccain faced off in a first debate that was nearly canceled when the republican suspended his campaign because of the meltdown on wall street. the day of their second debate, the stock market dropped 500 points. >> now the troubles are spreading. the market took another dive today, and there are some big names now involved. >> reporter: the day of the third debate, the stock market dropped over 300 points. >> fear that the country could be entering in one of the most serious recessions in decades, led by wall street's 700-point sell-off. >> now four years later, the president who faced john mccain in those debates and beat him faces his new republican challenger for the first time. >> i'm looking forward to head to head. >> an mirror image of '08, a campaign is chaotic mash. new issues, new controversies, every day. the polls are bad for romney and good for obama in the swing states. but the national numbers are as tight as they get. the primaries are over, the conventions are over, but the debates, the home stretch, starts right now. >>> all right. the pre-season is officiall
was a better steward of the economy than john mccain in troubled times. romney's got to make that case in 2012. >> little different when you're running against an incumbent. right? there's not a direct parallel there. >> look at the transcript. he was running against president bush. that these set of economic policies are wrong and i have a compelling vision. whether he can do that is another story. >> your colleague e.j. deion wrote journalists are in search of defining moments and game changers. by this standard, romney needs to game changer. obama can live quite happily without one. so do you think that mitt romney needs to have a big moment or if he is perceived to have won will at least give republicans some momentum. is that really the most reasonable thing to hope for? >> well, certainly it will. if the race were sort of fixed in time right now, everybody assumes that obama would win. in many ways that's happening because of early voting all right. so romney needs to change the trajectory in some way. now, that washington post is actually good news for romney in a sense he is winning th
years ago, john mccain stood up to a supporter who called then-senator obama an arab. here's his instantaneous, instinctive reaction. take a look. >> i have read about him and he's not -- he's a -- he's an arab. he's not -- >> no, ma'am. >> no? >> no, ma'am, no, ma'am. he's a decent, family man, citizen that i just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. that's what this campaign is all about. >> yeah, that's called honor. it's called honor. we're not seeing a lot of that. we're not seeing any of that. >> i haven't seen that on either side in this campaign. >> john mccain is a genuine guy. disagree with him, agree with him, whatever, it's called honor. the republican party used to believe in that. >> put it more crudely, there's some crap i won't eat. i'm not going to go along with what i see as is an ethnic campaign, that shouldn't be part of this campaign. i'm not going to go along with what you said. that instinctive no, no, is the greatest american spirit. i'm not going to do that. >> imagine mitt romney doing that. >> i would like to see every politician do
in wednesday night's debate in the economy. joining me now is msnbc contributor and author megan mccain and msnbc political analyst richard wolf. he's the author of revival, the struggle for survival inside the obama white house. thanks to both of you for being here tonight. >> thanks, reverend. >> richard, it's got to be bad if fox news isn't buying your line. >> you know, chris wallace was asking really reasonable questions. it's flot just about specifics. it's to try and explain the real costs, the facts behind the tax policy. so even if you set aside the proposition about whether you are winning or losing, because all of these things can be temporary at the beginning of the campaign, but getting to the details in a factual way is important. if you cannot boil down your message as candidate, never mind about a bumper sticker but a sound bite, how you express it to voters that's exactly the problem that they are in. the details are difficult but difficult not to explain but difficult for middle class voters. >> i had the same difficulty in junior high school trying to make 5 plus 3 eq
on the jeremiah wright stuff, as o of right now. in 2008 the john mccain had a choice about whether or not they should campaign on really ove overtly racial appeals. things like the jeremiah wright attack. they chose not to in 2008. if the romney campaign is going to keep going there along with the the conservative media, can it work this year? would it have worked in 2008? what are the lessons from john mccain having not gone there in 2008 when he had the chance? the senior strategist from 2008 joins us next. [ male announcer ] the 2013 smart comes with 8 airbags, a crash management system and the world's only tridion safety cell which can withstand over three and a half tons. small in size. big on safety. [ male announcer ] the exceedingly nimble, ridiculously agile, tight turning, fun to drive 2013 smart. ♪ >>> you're about to see it for the first time. it contains some of the most devisive class warfare rhetoric ever used by barack obama. that's what journalists have been trying to hide for years. it's a glimpse into the mind of the real barack obama and it's one that all amer
of anger he never had for clinton or mccain, even after sarah palin was picked as his running mate. if it gets personal tonight, how careful do both men have to be with their tone? >> well, i actually think one of the great myths with presidential politics is that at some point somebody does a story about, hey, it's personal. these were always very competitive guys. it's like lebron and kobe, do they want to play each other? i don't know. but they want to beat each other. the discord in this race is almost less than any i have ever seen. neither of these guys are a hater. they are both very focused. they are no drama guy. and whether they dislike each other or not is immaterial. doesn't matter. >> rich stengel, thank you for your time this evening. >>> coming up, the right dusts off their old racial playbook and rush limbaugh is fanning the flames. it's ugly. >>> plus, the gop todd akin problem just got worse. you're watching a special edition of "politicsnation" as we get ready for the big night here on msnbc. stay with us. >> i don't think senator dole is too old to be president.
florida, the majority of seniors voted for john mccain because they were hesitant how the health care reform would take place. talking about ryan and medicare and seniors, it comes down to florida. >> florida, florida, florida, david. she is right about one thing. if you look at the poll, the one area where you see consistent movement poll after poll after poll toward barack obama has been with senior citizens. you know as well as i do, they are a consistent voting block. they go to the polls in larger percentages. has the obama administration been successful at branding the medicare plan of the republicans as voucher care and are senior citizens moving away because they're afraid of the medicare changes? >> the ryan budget plan existed in terms of the 2010 election when republicans won 65 plus seniors by 21 points. part of the dynamic that exists here is, in fact, seniors are really unhappy with president obama's health care plan. what you see is this significant concern handling medicare, four years ago republicans would lose that by 25 points. now it's down in low single digits whe
like the mccain campaign. more focused on tactics than the overall -- let's just say rovian-type strategy. karl rove had a strategy in 2000 and 2004 before he started, and he stuck with it the entire campaign. i don't see that focus here with romney's top advisers. >> there hasn't been that focus. and i think what's really blindsided the campaign, they're obviously worried about the polls that you just discussed. what's really, really worries them is that the right track number coming out of the convention, the number of people who feel like the country's headed in a better direction, that that number really shot up after the democratic conventions and that they're picking that up in swing states, in a lot of these senate races. and that suggests a mood shift in the electorate that they don't fully understand. they think it has something to do with the convention. maybe a little bit to do with the economy in some of these swing states that the economy's still not good, but there are at least signs of the housing front that it might be getting a little bit better. and now the
if senator john mccain had not been on the top of the ticket. there is also a open senate seat in the state of arizona that is now in play. outgoing republican senator jon kyl's seat could be turning from red to blue. the republican candidate for senate is congressman jeff flake. he leads democrat challenger richard carmona by only one point in a carmona campaign internal poll. now, congressman flake is a typical republican in speaker boehner's failing house of representatives. he wants to repeal obama care, the affordable care act, he's against same-sex marriage, he's against a woman's light to choose, and the icing on the cake, he voted for paul ryan's, what some people call, immoral budget that completely guts medicaid and dismantles the social safety net in america. his opponent, former george w. bush surgeon general, richard carmona, is taking the opposite approach. >> it's reprehensible to think that the contract that we have with our seniors through medicare or social security is going to be cut. that doesn't make any sense. these are not entitlements. these are, in fact, investments
and john kerry fought it out every day about the war. in 2008 we were at war, and barack obama and john mccain fought it out every day in that war. this week when the financial crisis was absolutely on fire, at that debate, they were talking about the wars. this year, president obama does bring it up, he does bring it up at most of his stump speeches, how he explains what he has done and planning on doing talking about the two wars. he doesn't have to say much more because he's speaking to an empty room. the romney campaign has no identifiable position on afghanistan. they have been unwilling and unable to hold up that side of debate and so regardless of what it means for the candidates as a country we are deprived of a national discussion about a war we are in. 70,000 american families having skin in the game right now. we have -- that's part of the reason i'm looking forward to the debates. some ways sort of a post-policy campaign. and you can't do that in a debate, at least unless the debate is really bad. >> this is -- this is billed as a domestic policy debate, but -- and there are so man
peksations a-- expect way too high. >> romney is polling worse in favorability right now than john mccain was four years ago at this point. what's that mean now if anything? >> i've been thinking about this. i talked to a friend who is in the other party, i can't say who it is -- >> they got to be worried. >> he said, look, romney's problem isn't that people don't like him. romney's problem is that people think he doesn't like them. that's what the 47% is all about. that's what all of the -- that's what the medicare stuff is all about. >> what about that comment that operative from pennsylvania said about the bain ads. it seems to me nat obama team really coined this guy early. president obama said he looks like the guy who fired you. and then they went on the bain run. and then there was this war on women, which is taken into effect. i mean, every step of the way romney has been on the defensive. >> you and have i talked about this before. he lost the summer, he lost the conventions, he lost the month of september and he can't afford to lose the debates. the obama people were very smart,
're behind, safe is fatal. even his counterpunching has gone miniature. >> this reminds me a little of the mccain campaign in 2008. in the days at the end where you felt like the campaign was kind of grasping at every new ornament that it found on the tree. it's being distragted. one week it seems to be libya. the next week it seems to be medicare. the next day it's whether the president has said something about bump in the road. and i think for voters, it's very confusing to have these very short-term responses. in the romney campaign. now of course every campaign has to have a rapid response. but usually that should augment what is the overall strategy. it shouldn't become the strategy. >> they're trying to win each news cycle rather than win the election. >> they've been chasing news cycles. when he was in virginia. he talked about the defense cuts, they're so, that's what direct mail is for. that's not for your candidate to do that. that's what surprised me a little bit. is that romney went and i think what the krauthammer critique is getting at. it's not that it's just small ball by the camp
obama and senator mccain. >> not the way it was during the primary races. one of the things that you learned from that moment with benson and quayle, is they have been watching dan quayle, this young, some would say not fully prepared senator, and not prepared for the national stage, and watching how he kept comparing himself to john f. kennedy to show that kennedy was also young and they were ready to pounce with that. >> these guys have been on both sides known each other, going to be their opponents, reviewing individual yes videotapes, studied about them, forgetting about whether mitt romney has zingers or not they have some prepared lines ready but more important what overall kind of meta impression is that people get of these people. for mitt romney the challenge is great. a lot of work to do on the stage and one of the most fundamental things americans still have fundamental doubts about whether they see him as a potential president. apart from whether he can prosecute a case against obama he has this bigger thing to do, solve a problem with the fact that a lot look at him and
out and vote. >> right. and even bigger gap than 69/31 what president obama beat john mccain among latinos in 2008. look, this is a problem in this election for republicans, andrea, but a bigger problem in 2016, 2020 and beyond. the hispanic community is obviously a young community, it's a growing community, it's a community that's going to register to vote more in line with their population numbers in years to come. republicans simply cannot lose the hispanic vote by 40, 50 points. they can't even lose it by 20 points. people like jeb bush, marco rubio who you showed earlier they understand that. i think the party needs to have a reckoning with where they are in immigration and courting hispanics. numbers like that, mitt romney maybe can win with a number like that, possibly nationally, but i will tell you in 2016, 2020 and beyond the party nominee will be hard pressed to win losing hispanic business that kind of margin. >> and finally, how big a deal is joe biden saying that the middle class has been buried for the last four years? >> yeah. >> republicans are going to make a big
this is a bipartisan thing. mccain in 2008 to me is the classic example. it seems to be true of obama. i wonder though is there a potential then, because we have seen that romney can carry out attacks pretty well in debates, is there a phones that romney gets under obama's skin in a way that unnerves him, off his game and forces him into some kind of unflattering moment? do you see some kind of potential there? >> i -- people who know better than i tell me the president has developed a real dislike, at a distance, from mitt romney, just like the others you mentioned in the past, because mitt romney shows politicians in some respects the worst and most manipulatives a spoesks themself these don't want to see. i think president obama has to keep his cool. kent come off as condescending. he has got to let mitt romney, in boxing terms, let mitt romney attack and then the president has to be ready at the key moment with a droll and devastating counter punch, if he's got one. got to maintain his cool the whole way along. i think he has shown pretty much during his presidency that he is able to do that the o
. >> they've broken through. you know, this was a point in 2008 when something similar happened with john mccain. he couldn't recall in an interview how many houses or properties he owned. that became a sort of explaining narrative for all sorts of reasons why, and this may sound familiar, why he seemed out of touch. this 47% video resonated to a greater degree than john mccain not remembering how many homes he owned. so, if you have failed at this point to explain who you are, if you have another version of that story out there, you cannot undo it in one debate. you can try and engage with people directly to camera, but mitt romney is also going to want to land some punches. that's going to take time away from his job, number one, which should be telling people, for once, who he really is. >> i think that may be intentional. john, this is how romney's running mate paul ryan addressed the 47% comment captured in that secret video yesterday. take a listen. >> is there any way possible that this 47% can pay a nominal fee or something so they feel that they have small ownership in the government an
senator rob portman will star as president obama. he also did it in john mccain's 2008 campaign. ahead of next week's debates, both sides have been lowering expectations. >> the president is, obviously, a very eloquent, gifted speaker. he'll do just fine. >> mitt romney has an advantage because he's been through 20 debates in the primaries oefrt the last year. >> barack obama is a very effective debater. >> we know governor romney is practicing for months. i think the invasion of normandy took less preparation than he's putting into the debates. >> i'm joined by the president of progress and former obama white house adviser and also with us is robert trainum. nera, you helped with hillary clinton's debate preps and you worked robert with with rick santorum and president bush. let's get to the heart of it, robert. both sides lowering expectations, but realistically how important is this debate for romney "nightly newmitt romney? >> it's very important. this is his second time to make an impression. the first time was during the republican convention. the second time is in a situation wh
perspective on this from john mccain, he's debated both the president and mitt romney. he says we will see two very strong well-prepared debaters and he predicts few surprises. the president's behind closed doors in nevada for the next two days preparing to face mitt romney in denver wednesday. >> he's a good debater. i'm just okay. but what i'm most concerned about is having a serious discussion about what we need to do to keep the country growing. >> reporter: both sides are downplaying expectations. a senior aide to the president says romney will be prepared, disciplined and aggressive. romney's debate partner calls the president a tough debater. >> barack obama is going to be formidable, and i think it will be a good debate, but i certainly would not underestimate what barack obama brings to it. >> reporter: john kerry's playing romney with the president. in a weekend memo, republicans urged kerry to press the president on libya and syria. romney calls obama's foreign policy dangerous. romney's debate plan, clearly and concisely explain how he can fix the economy. >> i expect to be able to
an anti-islamic video. yesterday paul ryan and john mccain slammed the administration's handling of the deadly attack. >> the response was slow, confused, inconsistent. they first said it was a youtube video and a spontaneous mob. we now know it was a planned terrorist attack if this was one tragic incident that would be a tragedy in itself. the problem is it's part of a bigger picture that the obama foreign policy is unraveling before our eyes on tv screens. >> i think it interferes with the depiction that the administration is trying to convey that al qaeda is on the wane, everything is fine in the middle east. >> you think it's political? >> how else could you trot out our u.n. ambassador to say this was a spon ttaneous demonstrati? >> maybe they thought that at the time? >> on "meet the press" david plouffe was asked by david gregory if politics had anything to do with the administration labeling the assault as terrorism? >> the president's challenger said the president failed to level with the american people and call this a terrorist attack because you had to be concerned a
52.8 million people watched the first debate between senator john mccain and then senator obama four years ago. 80% of the country's adults reported watching at least some of the presidential debates in 2008. >>> enough of the real news, let's huddle up around the water cooler to get you ready for the rumble in the rockies. aides to president obama said he's focusing on looking calm. romney's team says it is loading up the candidate with zingers, one-liners aim the at the president. the campaign told "the new york times" last week, quote, mr. romney's team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he's memorized and has been practicing on aides since august. the zinger strategy apparently includes luring president obama into appearing smug or evasive in his responses, especially on questions of the economy. this is where jimmy fallon comes in. >> tomorrow is the first of three debates between myself and president obama. i'm looking forward to having a serious conversation with my opponent about the issues. i've always pre
in this election, the way that in 2008 mccain's crazed response to the financial crisis was really the pivotal moment. >> so you think this tape is the game changer? >> i do think it's the game changer. but i want to cut mitt romney a little bit of slack. i think that it was almost an impossible task for the are republican nominee to please the party base and appeal to a large section of electorate in order to win. they have to move so far to the right that it was impossible to run any sort of a mainstream campaign and, as you said, this is a verdict not just on romney but on their entire go it alone philosophy. >> now, bob, picking up on krystal's point about moving so far to the right, having to do that to win the primaries, when you look at the "new york times" poll of ohio, it is not just likeability. the economy 6 points up over romney. on health care, 14 points above romney of ohio voters. national security, 12 points up. medicare, 16 points up. taxes, 10 point up. immigration, 5 points up. foreign policy, 13 points up. so he is outpolling him by a significant number and in most cases, d
. four years ago there were 15 states that barack obama and john mccain were advertising in. now it's down to nine. you know, so you're getting same amount of advertising dollars squeezed into nine states. almost overearn gaugement with with the battleground states. >> the battleground map has dramatically decreased. we're in fewer states. you're not seeing, for example, the obama campaign talked about maybe we'll go into arizona or texas and georgia. they didn't. the obama campaign had long been looking at pennsylvania and michigan. they didn't. remember, in florida eight years ago we were talking about democrats playing missouri and even west virginia at one point or throwing money down to get the other side to spend money or compete and while republicans were looking at places like washington too. where's new mexico? >> robert, one of the things john cohen head of the polling team said it is fascinating the split between the engagement of young voters in swing states and voters in non-swing states. that's where this is being waged. that's where we need to check with enthusiasm.
't cause autism. hillary clinton said the same thing and so did john mccain. all three made the connection between thimerosol with a trace of mercury in it. that's been debunked. >> again, you're talking about dabbling in some theories, and completely grant you that it's troubling when you talk about people on the left that pushed this idea of a vaccine/autism link. that's troubling and needs to be called out. when you talk about as a party, mitt romney's in his acceptance speech at republican convention mocked the idea of combating climate change. he talked about obama promising to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. he mocked it, and it was a huge applause line. you have a republican party platform using scare quotes to talk about climate change. you have republicans in major positions of influence in the congress saying it's a complete hoax. that's totally out of whack with the kind of hostility of science you see overall on the left. >> so my response to that would be that, see, you're focusing more on the republican party and the democratic party, and that's not the point
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